Top 10 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July


Independence Day is one of those holidays it’s impossible not to enjoy. From the little kids dressed in red-white-and-blue rompers to the adults sporting their Uncle Sam hats, the 4th is an all-American party.

But for military families it’s an even bigger celebration. Maybe it’s because we personally know the cost of the freedom we’re celebrating. Whatever the reason, we know how to live up our indepdence on the 4th of July.

We asked both the spouses who came to our Fort Campbell Spouse Experience and our Facebook fans what they’re favorite ways are to celebrate the 4th. Here’s what they said.

Top 10 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July

1. Attend a fireworks display — especially if you have to wear a winter coat. Why is it that watching fireworks explode seems so incredibly American and patriotic? Whatever the reason, this is a must-do wherever you are stationed. It’s also the perfect chance to get out into the community and experience at its finest the place you’re calling home. Live in the D.C. area? You have to hit the National Mall. Stationed at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.? The small town of Steillacoom outside North Fort’s back gate has a street dancing party before their gorgeous firework display set off over the Puget Sound. And in Monterey, Calif. you may just have to wear a winter coat while watching the display over the bay. All of those are amazing experiences that you don’t want to miss.

2. Blow up your own fireworks. Our Facebook fans told us they love to set-off their own backyard displays. That makes sense to me. My servicemember gets a crazy, wicked gleam in his eye at the thought of being allowed to blow stuff up. America! KABOOM!

3. Video your child saying the pledge of allegiance — then share it. Fort Campbell, Ky. spouses suggested videoing the pledge as a fun way to remember the day. But we want to kick it up a notch. We want you to video your kids and then upload it to our Facebook page here. To get you started here is my very own 4-year-old Dave saying the pledge. You’ll just have to forgive his liberal pronunciation of several of the words.

4. Gather the neighborhood kids, give them patriotic decorations and demand ask nicely for a parade. Can you imagine the cuteness now? And you dont even need to leave home.

5. Get physical. SpouseBuzzer Heather always runs a 5k race on the 4th. We think that sounds fabulous. But maybe you’re not the running kind. Get the family outside instead for your new afternoon tradition whether that be a game of volleyball, some frisbee, throwing around the football or going on a bike ride around the neighborhood. After all, you gotta do something to work off that pie.

6. Host a BBQ (and don’t forget the pie!). Several of our Facebook fans said grilling out is their favorite way to enjoy the 4th. But we really liked Ashley’s suggestion of gathering friends who can’t get home to be with family.

7. Hit up a small town parade. When not one of our Facebook fans suggested attending a parade as a way to celebrate, I asked why. “800 degrees outside — it smothers the parade enthusiasm,” Nicole explained. But not everywhere is 800 degrees on the 4th. I grew up on the coast of California attending parades that were so chilly we wore hoodies and jeans. Nothing like a good Northern California fog bank to your 4th started off on the right foot!

8. Watch a patriotic movie. Nicole’s family watches Yankee Doodle Dandy together. Abigail watches Independence Day every single year. Jacey said Gone With the Wind would be a great choice. Regardless of the movie you pick, a little family time inside is a great way to gear up for fireworks to come or enjoy a rainy 4th.

9. Sing patriotic songs on your porch. The spouse of Fort Campbell are a musical bunch. They said a great way to spend part of your 4th is having a sing-along of patriotic music. And boy are there a lot of songs to choose from. Start with “Yankee Doodle,” and make sure you include “Oh Beautiful.”

10. Flag it up. We know where the flag doesn’t belong. But we also know where it does belong. So stock up on your bunting, buy piles of those cute little flags you wave at parades and unfurl the big one that hangs by your door. Display it proudly!


About the Author

Amy Bushatz
Amy is the editor in chief of’s spouse and family blog A journalist by trade, Amy also covers spouse and family news for where she is the managing editor of spouse and family content. An Army wife and mother of two, Amy has been featured as a subject matter expert on, NPR, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC and BBC as well as in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post. Follow her on twitter @amybushatz.

8 Comments on "Top 10 Ways to Celebrate the 4th of July"

  1. It is important to remember that Iraq/Afganistan Veterans are more than likely to react to fireworks. I am not saying that it can happen to all of us, but it IS important to take into consideration this. Personally, as one whom was in the sandbox multiple times. I avoid such events. It is better to find another venue….something quiet!!

  2. Troubleshooter | June 30, 2013 at 2:43 pm |

    By God….Ain't THAT America!

  3. I don't like the suggestion of number 2… or possibly just the way it is worded. Even the most trained explosives technician can have an accident with fireworks. To suggest "Blow up your own" just sounds like something leading to a trip to the base hospital. Yes, it is fun. But why not leave it to the professionals and be here on the 5th with all 10 fingers? It is just inherently dangerous and I would rather go on the side of caution.

  4. Marine Dad | July 3, 2013 at 9:15 am |

    Iraq/Afganistan Veterans were not the only vets to get shelled… Speaking strictly for myself, I still enjoy when the ground shakes and a light over pressure wave hits. God Bless America

  5. Lori Costello | July 3, 2013 at 11:56 pm |

    I love the article on the rules for the American flag, especially the 10 mentioned. I'm a 100% disabled veteran (Army/Air Force) MSgt who has given 18 years before being medically retired. Since then I've suffered from a service connected illness. I had dreams of what I was going to do when I retired but I wouldn't change a thing. I'm proud of the country I gave my health for and the American Flag stands for everything. I agree that people have forgot but with your articles it reminds us what is expected and how beautiful the flag is. Thank you.

  6. Retired...35 Years | July 8, 2013 at 1:50 am |

    That's great for our soldiers, airmen and sailors to celebrate, but celebrate what ?? Obama cancelled almost all military celebrations for the 4th of July !! Is that a Commander in Chief is supposed to do ??

Comments are closed.